Category Archives: Mom’s mental illness

Bad headline, weak evidence in a new study to link taking antidepressants during pregnancy to autism

Pregnant-woman-window-3Pregnant women on (SSRI) antidepressants will probably find it harder to make the right decision about whether  or not to stay on their depression medication during pregnancy — especially if they only read the (very misleading) headline and  don’t read and understand (and/or get help from their doctors)  the details of the latest study on a possible link between antidepressants and autism.

My point is that the increase in risk reported in this Swedish study– meaning the degree to which AD as a cause could be linked to the prevalence of autism in the population — amounted to less than 1%!

I’ve posted the link below. Pregnant women dealing with severe, moderate or even mild depression…if, after weighing the evidence, you opt to stop using a SSRI during your pregnancy, please also be sure to substitute alternative treatment (psychotherapy, an exercise regimen, a strong support system) and lifestyle changes that help with depression rather than simply opting out without replacing your antidepressants. I mention mildly depressed above because it is commonplace for mild depression to become more severe during and after pregnancy due to hormonal changes and related stresses.

Motherlode - Adventures in Parenting

April 22, 2013, 11:57 am 119 Comments

Study Links Autism With Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy


A cautiously worded study based on data collected in Sweden has found that “in utero exposure to both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (S.S.R.I.’s) and nonselective monoamine reuptake inhibitors (tricyclic antidepressants) was associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorders, particularly without intellectual disability.”

Read the New York Times article here:

The Swedish study in BMJ


The Different Impact of Problem Drinking on Men and Women; a Swedish Study

This article and study really hit home for  me. Having just recently, last Dec 2011, come to the sad conclusion that I could not be a “moderate drinker” and committed to sobriety, I can now look back to how my … Continue reading

Considering Medication When You’re Pregnant And Depressed | CommonHealth

Highly recommended article weighing the pro’s and con’s for women making this difficult decision. Here’s an excerpt but definitely read it all.

Untreated depression and anxiety disorders are not risk free during pregnancy and may negatively affect the mother, her baby or both. These disorders may:

1. Affect the mother’s feelings and behavior by increasig anxiety about OB visits or diminish energy levels to the point that prenatal care suffers. Poor appetite or fear of gaining weight may lead to poor nutrition. Depression or intense preoccupation may affect the mother’s ability to bond with her baby.
2. Lead to overuse of harmful substances (like alcohol, nicotine, excessive coffee intake, to name a few) to manage distressing symptoms.
3. Increase the risk of problems like nausea and vomiting, pre-term labor, low birth weight, lower Apgar scores (a measure of the baby’s health immediately after birth), enduring emotional and cognitive changes in the baby and post-partum depression.

• Treatment with antidepressants during pregnancy has also been associated with potential risks. Some are simply side effects of the medications which could be problematic during pregnancy (e.g. excessive weight gain or loss), some (like pre-term labor) are similar to the risks of no treatment. Yet others include an increased risk of miscarriage.

Commentary: Considering Medication When You’re Pregnant And Depressed | CommonHealth.

My Mother’s Day Rally Letter: On Why Postpartum Depression Treatment Is Important

To Every Mom and Mom-to-be on Mother’s Day:  My story is not unusual. My message is not complicated. You have to take care of yourself so you can be there for your children. What’s not simple is how someone who’s in the depths of postpartum depression, and enduring sleepless nights for months on end, can lift herself up far enough and for long enough to understand what must be done to get out of this place. I share my story because I waited far too long to get help.

Start with mine and check out each of the 24 letters being published hourly today to reach out to new mothers who are struggling with depression.

via Victoria Costello: On Why Postpartum Depression Treatment Is Important.


Happy Mother’s Day! The Rewards of ‘Recovery Parenting’

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One totally unexpected reward of this way of life I’ve named ‘recovery parenting’ came to me a few weeks ago while having lunch with my youngest son “Sammy” and his girlfriend of three years, a lovely girl I’ll call “Lori.” … Continue reading


What is Recovery Parenting?

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Incessant worry is what moms do no matter how hard we try not to; even after our kids get better—and long after we should know better. Waiting for the other shoe to drop; waiting for that call to come from … Continue reading


On Huff Post…Guilt: My Last, Worst Addiction

I’d just told [my son’s psychiatrist] that I was a 43-year-old single mother of two sons, that I worked as a freelance TV writer and I was in fine health. Of course I didn’t say I’d been depressed for as … Continue reading

When Mental Illness is a Family Affair: Q&A with Victoria Costello | World of Psychology

Q: In your book you mention the early signs of mental illness that you missed in your son Alex. Even as a baby, you write that he seemed different. What signs can parents watch for?

A: Some of the early signs resemble those linked to autism, for which parents are already told to monitor their toddlers and preschool children. Newer research is now establishing the existence of signals that can indicate a higher risk for schizophrenia — particularly if the child also has a family history of a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia and some types of bipolar disorder or suicide.

Some developmental signs include sitting, walking and talking later. The child may also have a preference for solitary play at 4 — usually a very sociable age — something that was very true of Alex.

In an older child, social withdrawal, anxiety, antisocial behavior and acts of self-harm are also associated with a higher risk.

There are also risk factors for schizophrenia in genetically vulnerable children over which parents can have at least some control, such as maternal malnutrition and depression; bullying and child maltreatment; and cannabis smoking by adolescents. No one or two of these signs should be seen as red flags. Only in combination do they merit parental concern.

READ the full interview on Psych Central:

via When Mental Illness is a Family Affair: Q&A with Victoria Costello | World of Psychology.

Lloyd I. Sederer, MD: Trauma and Adversity in Childhood: History Need Not Be Destiny

Sometimes it’s important to connect the dots in a very public way between cause and effect, as with the “adverse events” in childhood that can cause lifelong trauma.  In an excellent essay on Huff Post, Lloyd Sederer, a prominent N.Y. psychiatrist whose articles I follow closely, honors the American Pediatric Association for its leadership on raising awareness around the lifelong damage caused by childhood trauma.

It seems that those who have experienced trauma as children also need to be reminded that these events can be devastating in order to allow themselves to seek help for the PTSD or whatever effects may be present in their adult lives. To help, Dr. Sederer also notes interventions and treatments for child and family trauma that have been shown to be effective. 

As noted by the APA and Dr. Sederer, here are the primary “Adverse Childhood Events”, or ACEs that do the most damage to children — and the adults they become:

1. Direct psychological abuse

2. Direct sexual abuse

3. Direct physical abuse

4. Substance abuse in household

5. Mental illness in household

6. Mother treated violently

7. Criminal behavior in household

The greater the number of ACEs, the greater the risk of developing a chronic disease,or multiple chronic diseases. From post traumatic disorder research we know the greater theseverity and frequency of the trauma the more like it will burn itself into the brains neural circuitry.

via Lloyd I. Sederer, MD: Trauma and Adversity in Childhood: History Need Not Be Destiny.


Weaning And Depression Linked In Many Women

This is cutting edge reporting on a different aspect of post partum depression… “Probably, a lot of what people are experiencing is a hormone change that’s making them feel down, and they feel they have just lost a special relationship,” … Continue reading